Statement by Nicky Hager on police seizing property
On Thursday, 2 October, five police arrived at my home with a warrant to search and seize property. I was in Auckland at the time for two days of lectures at the University of Auckland. The police spent over ten hours searching the house and removing property in an attempt to discover the identity of the person who provided information used in my book Dirty Politics.
Soon after the police arrived, the lead detective stated that I was not a suspect in their case, merely a witness. I spoke to him by phone and informed him that he would find no information in the house about my source. Nonetheless, he and his four colleagues seized a large collection of papers and electronic equipment belonging to my family, including computers, drives, phones, CDs, an IPOD and a camera.
I am confident that the police took nothing that will help them with their investigation. Their actions were a fishing expedition, presumably because they have no idea who the source is and hoped they might stumble across information about them.
I believe the police actions are dangerous for journalism in New Zealand. It matters to all people working in the media who could similarly have their property searched and seized to look for sources. People are less likely to help the media if the police act in this way. The police want people to respect their role in society; they should in turn respect other people’s roles in society.
My investigative journalism work means I have an unnegotiable obligation to protect all my sources and the confidences of other people who approach me. I will not cooperate in any way with the police in trying to discover this or other sources. I am in discussion with my lawyers about what I can do to challenge the police actions.